Let’s be honest. The holidays may have snuck up on some of us. (Hannukkah started last night? I have to pay expedited shipping for Christmas delivery? Where did the year go?).
Even though the season gets hectic, there’s something comforting about carrying on family holiday traditions – or building new ones! This time of year has inspired decades of American filmmaking, whether you’re in the mood for something touching, serious, or amusing. So when you’re done standing in line for the post office,take a deep breath, cozy up at home, and check out this sampling of the holiday movie specials available on DiSH Network.
Miracle on 34th Street
When the Cole’s department store Santa shows up drunk for the Thanksgiving Day parade, the store’s event director Dorey quickly appoints a bearded bystander to don the red suit for the day. He does so well that Dorey hires him to stand in as Santa for the season. The new Santa, who goes by the legal name Kris Kringle, brightens the store with his true desire to extend the spirit of Christmas beyond the rampant commercialism around him. However, the sacked Santa hires an attorney and sets Kris Kringle up to be arrested for assault and committed to psychiatric care. With the help of Dorey’s six year old daughter Susan, the judge finds his belief and drops the case, declaring that “Santa is real.”
AMC show times: December 22 at 9:15 a.m., 2 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 11:30 p.m.
It’s a Wonderful Life
George Bailey is an upright member of the Bedford Falls community, dutifully running his father’s building and loan company and doing everything in his power to keep the rich and sinister Mr. Potter from taking over the town. On Christmas Eve, his Uncle Billy loses $8,000 on the way to the bank and George realizes that he will be held responsible and thrown in jail. Thinking about the ramifications his incarceration will have on his family and the legacy he tried to build for Bedford Falls, George becomes overwhelmed and suicidal. Luckily, his guardian angel Clarence falls to the earth to grant him his wish: to never have been born. They tour the town, seeing what would happen to his loved ones and the town of Pottersville if he hadn’t been around to make his mark and George realizes that even in the hard times, his is a wonderful life. (Tidbit: This film was originally written as a Hannukah movie).
USA Network showtimes: December 14 at 8 p.m.
Bound to become a modern Christmas classic, Elf tells the story of an orphaned human boy Buddy (Will Ferrell) raised by elves in the North Pole. Despite the staggering difference in height and demeanor, Buddy remains convinced that he is an elf until his adopted father breaks the news. Buddy gains permission from Santa to travel to New York to meet his biological father Walter, a scrooge of a man with his own family troubles. Buddy plows through the city with cheerful disregard for human custom, but his unwavering belief in Santa and the Christmas spirit achieves miracles from getting his father to put his family above himself to making Santa’s sled fly.
ABC family showtimes: December 19th at 8 p.m. and December 20th at 6 p.m.
A Charlie Brown Christmas:
In this true classic, Charlie Brown despairs at the meaningless mess of presents, ornaments, and materialism that surrounds Christmas. With the help of a struggling fir tree, a Christmas pageant, and his friends Linus and Lucy, Charlie finds the true spirit of Christmas right in front of him.
AMC show times: December 16th at 8 p.m.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation:
Clark Griswold intends to pull out all the stops for this year’s Christmas celebration. In the weeks leading up to the gathering, we watch as the excitement (and mayhem) builds. Complete with plenty of comic relief, domestic mishaps, and explosions, this is a high energy holiday film for the whole family.
ABC Family showtimes: December 20th at 4 p.m. and December 24th at 7 p.m.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas:
Based on the children’s book by Dr. Seuss, this delightful animated film focuses on the cheery town of Whoville and its residents, the Whos. The Whos adore Christmas and everything that surrounds it, but they are watched from on high by a grumpy green Grinch who plots to steal it away so that nobody can have any fun. Luckily for everyone, his plot is foiled by a tiny Who named Cindy Lou who decides to befriend the Grinch and open his eyes to the holiday spirit.
ABC Family showtimes: December 20th at 8 p.m. and December 21st at 5 p.m.
Mischievous eight year old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) gets left behind when his family takes off for their European vacation. Kevin enjoys his new freedom in the empty house – until inept burglars Harry and Marv make an appearance and Kevin must thwart their plans all on his own.
ABC Family showtimes: December 20th at 10:30 p.m., and December 21st at 7:30 p.m.